Youth Hostels International
Read reviews about Youth Hostels across the globe. Whether you're on holiday, a school trip or travelling the World, don't miss the best youth hostels and budget accommodation. Search our Youth hostels international category by continent, country or city. Compare traveller's reviews,
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IYHA Hostel (Melbourne, Australia)
The I.Y.H.A (International Youth Hostel Association) is the official communal accommodation chain that are sprinkled all-around the world that offer clean and secure backpacker accommodation for all ages, an alternative to the livelier independent hostels that don't have as many rules and flexibilityas the IYHA. When you think of youth ... hostels you normally think of bum bags, beards, woolly jumpers and iron framed rucksacks, certainly the case in England in the old days. I know when I first contemplated staying with the YHA in Australia I feared exactly that, late night curfews, women with mustaches and lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it couldn't be further from the truth, the Melbourne International Youth Hostel, which was my first night in Australia, excellent and clean and not a hippy or lentil in sight and a place to make friends quickly. This place is highly recommended to first time travelers looking for comfortable cheap accommodation in a relaxed environment over the typical rowdy backpackers you find in other southern hemisphere cities.
It's a big place for a youth hostel and the first I have ever been into this day with a lift, three floors of excellent dorm and multi birth accommodation to pick from, the best 4 door rooms you will find in any hostel, the cockroaches long since gone as they choked and skidded on the bleach and polished floors. This was the only hostel I ever stayed at on my extensive travels that didn't have roaches.
With a cool sunroof to take some legendary Aussie rays, and the most amazing view of the city skyline by night up there (a rare intimate escape from ones communal sleep and eating and lounge space for a bit of snogging if you get lucky with the continental guests), the Melbourne IYHA is the crème de la crème of this style of cheap accommodation. But if you are staying in the IYHA chain hoping to get off with the opposite sex every night remember that the official YHA hostels like to try and stick to the rules and so its no smoking, drinking or co habiting so expect your fellow travelers to be a little more reserved or conservative, which sometimes is not a bad thing as some of the more rowdy backpackers are over run with party animals and illegal substances that are not everybody's scene. If you are getting off a twenty hour flight from Heathrow and you are not an experienced backpacker/traveler then the youth hostel chain are good for settling you into the hostel lifestyle.
With lots of toilets and a spic and span male and female shower block, an in-house laundry and an excellent self catering kitchens, as well internet spaces and chill out areas, its set up perfect for the more mature or intelligent backpacker. The reason I say intelligent is because most backpacking types are graduates or young professionals on year outs and so the party crowd (drama and media studies degrees) tending to stay elsewhere with cigarette smoke and alcohol the chosen conversation of the night. These places tend to be very noisy with a swimming pool and if you also have the dreaded snorer in your room it's like being a roadie trying to get an afternoon nap backstage at the Monsters of Rock Festival! But they are cheaper and fun so very popular.
This hostel has an excellent cafeteria and most days they serve up brekies, evening meals and pack lunches for a reasonable fee. The front desk is very efficient with Fax, Internet, and phones etc with a knowledgeable staff and the building is well situated in a leafy bustling suburban area away from why trouble there is in Melbourne so you can take the bus and trains to and from the hostel hassle free 24/7, the comforting chirp of crickets chattering away in the Acacias trees to send you off to sleep on the humid nights. In fact you can hop on one of the lovely old trams and be in the city in ten minutes and on the beach in twenty. It's also comfortable walking distance from the welcoming city. The nearby Queen Victoria Street market supplies you with all your meat and vedge and great for stocking the 'barbie', of which they have a BBQ area on the roof. They don't have a garden or bar area though so if you do smoke and drink then perhaps this place will be too conservative for you.
At $30-40 Aus dollars (£17-20 quid) a night for a 4 and 8 room dorms (Weekly rates available) it's the most expensive IYHA in Australia but you do get backpacker luxury and an excellent location and feeling of safety and ambiance, again ideal if it's your first night in Australia and experience of backpacking. When I was there it was certainly the most modern hostel in Australia I experienced and a great introduction to Australia to quickly settle in to a pleasant rhythm in this wonderful city. It is expensive for a backpackers but worth that extra luxury to let you find your feet in a new country and a price that keeps the riff raff away. I believe they have a new pool table and games room with an excellent internet suite now. I was there in the 1990s and even had internet then.
If you're staying at high season around the Grand Prix or tennis its best to book ahead and you get 10% off if you are a member of the IYHA Association, a IYHA card worth investing in if you are going to stick to the chain on your trip You can also book all your trips and bus and train passes from the hostel at no extra cost and they also do day trips and themed nights and stuff.
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Meeting Point (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Amsterdam is one of those cities that simply cannot be missing from any Euro-trip itinerary. With the recent Megabus offers in mind my travel buddy and me quickly decided to end our road trip here in style - with a hostel located in the red light right district famous for its 18+ entertainment and the infamous Dutch coffee shops. Hostel ... Meetingpoint was at the time of writing (Sep 2012) a Hostelbooker favourite with excellent reviews regarding its location, cleanness and atmosphere. With prices ranging from 10£ in low season per bed in a big dorm to 30£ in high season in a small dorm Meetingpoint is good value for money in a city as overrun by tourists as Amsterdam. As with any popular destinations it is highly advisable to book your beds way in advance; although we stayed there right at the end of the tourist season the hostel was fully booked every night. Two types of dorms are offered, 18bed mixed dorm and 8bed mixed dorm - each with bunk beds, lockers and shared bathroom. The hostel facilities included a 24 hour bar serving drinks, breakfast and light snacks; a pool table that was free to use; wifi and internet access via a pc and of course the all-important smoking room next to the bar. Bookings can be undertaking via their website or any commercial travel website.
Our arrival in Amsterdam was less than unfortunate. Used to the heat wave in Paris we boarded our overnight bus expecting sun and warmth upon our arrival in the Netherlands. Turns out that Amsterdam can be just as grey and rainy than the UK on a winter's day. A big plus for the hostel here was its convenient location, with a shot two minute walk from the Central Station we arrived at its doorstep not too frozen at 7am. A member of staff let us in and after checking our reservation allowed us to sit in the bar until our beds were prepared. Check out time is quite late with 10am so we were looking for a good 4 hours wait by that point. Luckily the magic qualities that attract people to Amsterdam made this way quiet fun. Within ten minutes of arriving we had a drunken hostel guest buy us drinks (nothing over vodka to keep you sane after a morning like that) and another one inviting us to the smoking room. Please be aware that it is legal to consume soft drugs (Cannabis and hash) in the hostel but only in the designated smoking area. This was actually very important for us as my travel buddy is not into weed but still wanted to enjoy the hostel bar. At Meetingpoint anyone can have a good time in the bar with a few drinks while the smokers can occasionally retire to the closed off room at the end of the bar, thus not bothering non-smokers.
After a couple of hours wait we finally gave up and went to explore the city. While Amsterdam certainly has a lot to offer we were desperate for some sleep and checked in at 11am on the dot. Our beds were in one of the 18 bed mixed dorm on the third floor. All dorms are on the higher floors so consider choosing a different hostel if mobility is a problem. Having done a fair amount of backpack in both Europe and SEA I was positively surprised by this room. The beds were very comfortable with fresh bed linen that looked sparkling new. No ominous stains or hairs here. Everything in the room looked new and was absolutely spotless. The spacing of the narrow but long room created the illusion that you were sharing with a lot less people and there was more than enough space for packing and unpacking. When it came to storing our backpacks we had two options; rent a locker (oversized oil ton standing next to the beds) or cramp our stuff under the lower bunk. My friend rented a locker for 2 Euros which covered the entire stay. The tons looked quite cool and came with a padlock; unfortunately being made from metal they were somewhat noisy when trying to get hold of your PJs after the pub crawl in the middle of the night. I stored my stuff under my bed, a bit of a squeeze but at least everything was in reach and I never travel with any valuables anyway. The dorms cannot be locked and we were never given a key; however one could only enter the hostel upon showing a member if staff an entrance card who then would buzz us through the front door. Security wise I had no concerns and happily left my Ipod charging in the room without anything going missing. Standard European two pin power plugs are available in the rooms, the hallway and the bathrooms.
There was one men and one women bathroom per floor so we ended up sharing it with 26 people. The bathrooms had two showers and two toilets each which does not sound much but I never had to queue to use either. They are fairly spacious and clean, although there was some mould growing in the corners of the shower cabins. This is something that cannot really be avoided and was therefore not an issue. Apart from that the bathroom was cleaned several times a day and certainly one of the better ones I have seen in hostels. Hot water is allegedly available 24/7 although I had the impression that more often it was luke warm rather than hot.
Let's face it, Amsterdam might have beautiful architecture, lovely bike routes and a rich art history but most backpackers are here for the nightlife. The bar was certainly the heart of the hostel. Drinks are reasonably priced and most people not travelling in groups would sit here looking for a new travel buddy or for a partner in crime to hit up the smoking room. Something that made Meetingpoint stand out to me was that we were allowed to eat a take away in the bar even though the sell snacks. Also nobody complained about a group of lads drinking a couple of beers they brought in from the outside. Amsterdam can be expensive when eating out and with the rain the only option we had was sit in the hostel. The Chinese take away next door offers huge fried rice/noodle boxed for 5 Euro which is a real bargain. Not having a kitchen for guests was the biggest minus point about this hostel. Anyway, I loved the bar! Most people that I ended up chatting to were great and the atmosphere was real nice. The large tables meant that you inevitable ended up sitting with strangers, all of whom more than happy to share a beer or some herbal remedies. On our last night we sat there until dawn chatting about everything from the Australian mining industry to post-Woodstock gigs in California. As a solo traveller it was very easy to make new friends here and groups had enough space to hang out for a drink before or after heading out to the nightlife. Meetingpoint is in the heart of tourist town with various coffee shops right on its doorstep. The red light district is only round the corner and both the sex and torture museum can be seen from the smoking room window. We were very happy with the location and enjoyed a great time here. Even as young female travellers we never felt unsafe when walking back to the hostel during the night. We never witnessed any fights or aggression, only people looking for a good time in one of the prettiest cities in Europe. And even if nightlife is not that high on your agenda you should not discount Meeting point. The free Amsterdam city tour starts here every morning and staff is highly knowledgeable about sights, museums as well as boat and bike rental. All the main shopping streets and the Dam Square are within a five minute walk and there are a fair amount of restaurants and "normal" coffee shops nearby.
I am not going to pretend that I never went into the smoking room. Just as the bar it is a great place to meet like-minded people and have a relaxed smoke (not necessarily weed related) while enjoying the view on Amsterdam city centre. Things like grinders and bongs are available here for free but we had to buy the rest in a coffee shop and bring it back to the hostel. There was always a good atmosphere in the room and often non-smokers just sat around here to keep a conversation started at the bar going. All in all Meetingpoint attracted a mixed crowed of nightlife lovers, stoners and culture fanatics and everybody was equally welcome. My only niggle would be the lack of a more comfortable common room with couches instead of bar tables but hey, you can't have everything. Sitting at the bar we never felt like we needed to purchase anything but tables and chairs are only comfortable for so long. Staying in the rooms to have a chat was nearly impossible as with such big dorms somebody was always asleep in there. Still, I would rate Meetingpoint as one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in and have already booked another stay for December. My highlights here were the great location, friendly staff. cleaness and the common areas. The only major let down was the lack of a kitchen but being allowed to eat outside food made up for that. Highly recommended for anyone visiting Amsterdam!
Meetingpoint youth hostel
1012 JD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
P.O. BOX 10227
1001 EE Amsterdam
Tel. :+31 (0)20 627 74 99
fax. :+31 (0)20-3304774
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Cap Wörth Youth Hostel (Velden, Austria)
I have spent a lot of time at this youth hostel over the last few years so I thought I would share my experiences of it. I spent two weeks there this August and I also stayed there for six weeks each summer in 2007, 2008 and 2009 so I have spent 4 or 5 months there in total. === Location === This youth hostel is in ... Velden am Wörthersee which is in the region of Carinthia ("Kärnten" in German) in the south of Austria. The hostel is not quite in the centre of the town. It takes about 20 minutes to walk into the centre (a bit longer to the train station). I don't find this distance too bad. Alternatively it is a short taxi ride. You generally pay about Euro12 to get into the centre by taxi.
The town of Velden is directly next to the Wörthersee, one of Austria's most popular lakes. It is the largest lake in Carinthia and also the warmest. The best thing about this hostel is that it has its own direct access to the lake. You can walk down the steps to the lake from the hostel grounds and be in the water within seconds.
Velden is near to the city of Klagenfurt (capital of the region) and it takes about 10 minutes to get there by train. It is also near to the town of Villach. It is close to the borders with Italy and Slovenia and it is easily doable to make day trips from Velden.
The easiest and most direct way to reach Velden from the UK is to fly from London Stansted to Klagenfurt. Ryanair seems to be the only airline which offers this route, which means you can get the flights quite cheaply. If you don't want to fly Ryanair you would have to fly to Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Munich or somewhere else and then travel for a few hours by train/car etc.
=== Booking ===
I have never had to make a booking myself as I have always been there with a summer camp where I was working, and my room was provided, but this is a Hostels International (HI) hostel so you can book on the HI Hostels website, other general hostel websites such as Hostelworld.com or by phoning the hostel on 004342742646.
It is always very busy as the location is so popular, so I would definitely recommend booking in advance. People who just turn up and hope for a bed are likely to be disappointed.
=== Prices ===
Bed and breakfast is Euro26 per person. Add Euro6.40 if you want lunch included and another Euro6.40 for full board with lunch and dinner.
=== Staff ===
Staff are mostly friendly. Unfortunately this time I stayed I had to complain about one member of staff who was consistenly rude and innappropriate, and kept pestering me and my colleagues while we were working. When I spoke to someone from reception about this, they were well aware that he was a problem and they apologised about it. This is quite a new member of staff and I don't think he will be staying long!
=== Rooms ===
The main hostel building has three floors of bedrooms and most rooms accommodate 2 or 3 people. Each room number actually has two rooms in it - the A room which has 3 beds and the B room which has 2 beds (bunkbeds). There is a bathroom to share for the A and B room together.
The A rooms are much nicer than the B rooms in my opinion, as they are much larger and airier. They have bigger windows with space to hang up wet towels or swimming stuff. However, the third bed in the A rooms is a bit smaller. The B rooms are fine, but when two people are staying in them they can be a bit cramped. There are a couple of larger rooms with more beds, and also at the weekends the hostel sometimes turns classrooms or common room type areas into dorms and put a lot of beds in them.
You are provided with bed linen but you have to put this on your bed yourself, and at the end of the stay you need to remove it and leave it in the corridor. Cleaners will come during your stay and empty bins, hoover etc if you stay long enough.
Rooms have storage cupboards which can be locked to keep your valuables safe.
=== Bathrooms ===
The bathrooms have cubicle showers in them and no bath. This is fine for me as I always prefer to shower than have a bath anyway, and obviously if up to 5 people are sharing the bathroom you don't want them to hog it for ages having a bath! The shower has always been fine for me - fairly powerful and never had any problems with adjusting the heat etc. There are loads of hooks to hang up things to dry in there, and there is a sink with a shelf to keep any toiletries.
You have to bring your own toiletries and towels as nothing is provided. If you don't have a towel, you can rent one for Euro1.50. You can buy a few toiletries from the hostel but I never have done as I just buy from the supermarket in the town (Billa) or the drug store (BIPA).
=== Sports Facilities===
The best facility is the direct access to the lake. This is brilliant, especially as at most places in the town all the lake access is privately owned by hotels and there is only one public beach, which you have to pay for. It is just brilliant to be able to go down to the water any time. There is a large wooden jetty there with two ladders down into the lake, and you can also jump off the jetty into the water. It can get very slippery when a lot of people have been running around on it wet, but it is not dangerous as long as you take care. There are also a couple of other smaller wooden platforms giving lake access in slightly more secluded spots around the grounds. There is a large grassy area for sunbathing and relaxing next to the lake too.
On the lake you can do a lot of watersports including waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, surfing, going on an inflatable banana or inflatable tyre (not sure what it is actually called in English - in German "Reifen").
There are three beach volleyball courts near the lake and it is possible to borrow volleyballs from reception if you don't have your own. The only annoyance with this is that sometimes there are beach volleyball camps in the hostel and they reserve the courts for themselves, so others get kicked off to accommodate them.
There is also another net on the grass at the top of the stairs near the main building, and this can be used for volleyball or badminton. There is a large football pitch with goals at the back of the building. There is a table tennis table inside in the basement.
There is an indoor swimming pool but this is currently being renovated, so was not available for me to use this summer. This was a shame as sometimes I find it more convenient to just go for a quick swim indoors in the early mornings rather than the lake, but then again the weather this summer was so amazing that I could always go in the lake and was never prevented from outdoor swimming.
You can rent bikes from the hostel.
=== Other Leisure Facilities ===
There is a TV in the communal lounge area and a few computers for internet access, although this is quite expensive. You can also buy a password to use the hostels WIFI.
The hostel has some games available for everyone to help themselves to, such as UNO, Scrabble and various other board games. Some of these will only be of use to you if you speak German, such as the board game Activity (combination of pictionary, taboo and charades) where all the cards are in German only.
There is a bar which sells a few hot food items such as hot dogs, pizza and toasted sandwiches. It also sells soft drinks, ice creams, snacks such as donuts as well as alcoholic drinks. The beer they have on tap is Villacher, a local Austrian beer from Villach which is near Velden.
=== Facilities for Camps and Large Groups ===
Lots of camps and large groups go to this hostel because it is so big and in such a brilliant location. There are a number of classrooms available for rent - the main ones are named after the continents and I have always used these to teach English. They vary in size but you can comfortably fit groups of up to about 15 in the bigger ones or 10 in the smaller ones. They all have white boards and some have TVs.
There is also a large office at the front of the hostel which we always used for our camp. This can be a bit confusing as guests often saw us using it and assumed it was a communal area and tried to come in, which they weren't allowed to. Various other rooms can also be rented, such as a large hall.
=== Atmosphere ===
As there are often large groups in the hostel, it can feel a little bit rowdy at times with so many excitable kids. You also often get large groups of people in their 20s who are there to drink and go out, so occasionally this can cause problems if they are shouting and waking people up in the night. Last week a drunk guy just walked into my bedroom in the night, so I would definitely recommend locking doors as you never know if someone will come in accidentally or just to try and chat etc when drunk after a night out.
The atmosphere on the whole is friendly and relaxed. There are also lots of families there including people of all ages, from older people down to tiny babies.
=== Disabled Access ===
Disabled access is good and you often see groups of wheelchair users in the hostel. There are large disabled bathrooms and toilets on every floor, and there is an alternative path to the lake which is down a gradual sloped path rather than taking the steps.
=== Food ===
There is a water machine which provides cold water on tap for free at all times throughout the day until the kitchen/dining area is locked at about 10 pm. This is great because as it can get really hot there in the summer, I like to drink a lot of water and I don't want to constantly have to buy it.
Breakfast is included in the normal room rate. Breakfast takes the form of a buffet and I have always been happy with it. There are various cereals and muesli, yoghurt, fruit, bread rolls with various fillings of jam, cheese, ham, nutella, marmalade etc or toast. I always have muesli and yoghurt there every day and I really like it. There is also coffee, cocoa, various types of tea. The only disappointment is that no proper fruit juice is provided, only a weird squash type drink.
Lunch and dinner is not included, but meal tickets can be purchased for Euro6.40. The food for the day is always written on a blackboard in front of the dining area and there is a meat or vegetarian option. You need to say which you want when you buy your ticket. I find the food is generally okay - sometimes you get really nice food, other times it is a bit plain or too stodgy, but it is certainly edible. They do go in for quite a lot of carbohydrates and sometimes when staying there for weeks my friends and I would start to joke that we would be getting "pasta with potatoes and bread" but it is not really that bad!
At every meal there is a large salad buffet and a soup to help yourself to. I have never tried the soup as hot soup doesn't really appeal in hot weather, but loads of my colleagues love the soups. The salad buffet is great as there is always something good to eat even if you don't like the main course. At most meals there is also a dessert of some form - often yoghurt, some kind of mousse, custard, fruit, cake or sometimes I have had tiramisu.
I do think it is good that food is available if you want it, as if you are in the hostel to relax, swim and sunbathe you might not always want to head into the town to a restaurant, as it is a bit further away.
=== Over all ===
I love the location of this hostel and I think the range of facilities it has is very good. It is a bit basic in some ways, but then it is a hostel and not a hotel, so that is to be expected.
If you want sun, swimming and sports on a budget then I definitely recommend this hostel to you. It is a great place to go if you want a cheap get away, e.g. it would be great for students.
If you want to know anything else about this hostel or Velden, feel free to ask me.
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Youth Hostel International
Youth Hostel International / Address: Seecorso 37 - 39, A-9220 Velden, Carinthia, Austria
Youth Hostel International / Address: 1770 Southern Cross Backpackers: 2694 Round Hill Rd, Agnes Water QLD 4677
Address: Kammakargatan 46 / Youth Hostel International / Stockholm 11160 / Sweden
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